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Risk Factors and Health Promotion in Families of Patients With Breast Cancer

Stacey I. Manley Conto
Jamie S. Myers
CJON 2002, 6(2), 83-87 DOI: 10.1188/02.CJON.83-87

Women with a family history of breast cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease. Women identified as "high risk" for developing breast cancer have been shown to exhibit increased levels of psychological distress and anxiety related to breast cancer. Oncology nurses can address this barrier and others, such as altered risk perception and lack of physician recommendation for screening. Oncology nurses also can identify high-risk families that may be candidates for genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility, provide comprehensive teaching about breast self-examination (BSE), and clarify misconceptions about early detection. Primary prevention measures for hereditary breast cancer include prophylactic mastectomy and oophorectomy and chemopreventative agents. Secondary prevention measures include screening and early detection with mammography, clinical breast examinations, and BSE. Nurses have a responsibility to educate families of patients with breast cancer about risk factors, primary and secondary preventive measures, genetic testing, and screening recommendations.

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